New operator on track to take over Rockland to Brunswick rail line in Maine

September 3, 2015

ROCKLAND, Maine — A new operator is expected to take over the Rockland to Brunswick rail line at the end of the year, according to the Maine Department of Transportation.

An executive with the company that has run the line for the past 12 years said he is extremely disappointed with the state’s decision to switch operators, saying it will likely mean an end to passenger service along that stretch of track.

Earlier this year, the Maine Department of Transportation solicited proposals to determine what interest there was in continuing freight transportation and perhaps expanding passenger service on that stretch of line.

After reviewing the only two bids submitted, the Maine Department of Transportation selected Central Maine & Quebec Railway to operate the line, according to department spokesman Ted Talbot. He said there was no state money available, however, to subsidize an expansion of passenger service.

The department is negotiating terms of the 10-year contract with the Hermon-based Central Maine & Quebec Railway, with the lease expected to take effect Jan. 1, 2016, Talbot said.

Central Maine will replace Maine Eastern Railroad, which has operated the line since 2003. The new operator will be responsible for maintaining the tracks just as the old operator had been required to do.

Nate Moulton, director of rail programs for the Department of Transportation, said Thursday that the four members of the selection committee were unanimous in the decision to go with Central Maine. He said terms of the proposals remain confidential until a contract is signed.

Read the full story from reporter Stephen Betts of the Bangor Daily News by clicking here.

 

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